Off-the-shelf hardware ingenue that I am, I went online and chose a Dell Dimension DM061, powered by a Intel Pentium Duo 2.8GHz, 1014MB RAM chip. I've had no problems with Dell as Dell (expect perhaps they gave me that irritating update checker which reguarly pops up not to allow me to install upgrades?). No, my problems have all been with Windows Vista.
As ever with a Windows OS 'upgrade', the new chrome is nice, eg. the new 'View' and 'Sort' settings in Explorer offer genuine utility in accessing folders full of a large number of different file types, or would if their coding hasn't rendered the entire OS utterly unstable. (And I'm betting that the idea was probably lifted from the Mac in any case, just like so much else of the Vista chrome appears to be.) Here are some of the more minor bugs my Explorer demonstrates:
- Folders in Explorer reset to random view and sort settings each time I enter them, so I have to click about to get the desired view setting I want over and over again.
- The shift- and ctrl- multiselect options have stopped working except in my Open/Save dialogue boxes.
Serious as these glitches in Explorer are, they are minor compared to the extreme bloat that is Vista's main crippling flaw. The 'blue screen of death' used to be the hallmark of the horror that was an unstable Windows OS, now it's the 'Not Responding' message which appears with depressing frequency and usually for no apparent reason. Defragmenting and virus scans take forever too, sometimes literally 6 or more hours, as if the disc hadn't been defragged or checked in weeks.
So as if Explorer wasn't already bad enough, it can lock up and freeze the whole machine trying to move 2 or 3 PDF's from one folder to another, and it will stay locked for minutes before it clears. That's 1 Meg RAM @ 2.8GHz, freezing over a few Meg's of PDF? WTF?! I've learned, when organising files in Explorer, to hit cancel and try again when this dread box turns up. It's usually quicker than waiting for the box to freeze and lock up explorer.
And on top of all that, Badger told me about a story going round that the latest Vista patches- which naturally enough I've downloaded automatically, as you do- have actually made a bad situation worse. I can vouch for that, particularly over the freezes, which definitely seem to me to be getting worse.
So I've had enough of this shit. I'm fed up spending money on a fancy new computer only to find it performing increasingly below specification. I'm no computer whizz, but I know these machines should be working better than this. I'm moving to a Linux OS as soon as I can. Badger tells me that it's easy to test Ubuntu without making installation decisions which might cause problems. I'm going to investigate this soon. ;)